Oh, you weak beautiful people, who give up with such grace. What you need is someone to take hold you – gently, with love, and hand your life back to you.
Now that we’ve had the big hoe-down with fiction (and GAWD you people are good readers), I thought we should do the same with non-fiction. As you can imagine, I read a huge number of memoirs as blurb requests; some of them are so squalid I feel as if the solution is to run my head over with my own car tires. Some are the opposite. In general, though, squalid rules the day, and people love it. God bless them.
Before I begin, though, I had a list of my favorite gay fiction and it got buried under the ever-lovin’ crap on my desk – the same desk that violently heaved me away from it and caused me to seize like a mystic on the floor! Just for reference.
The world would be a shadowy and angsty, ugly, factory-like building and we would all be wage slaves without our gay brethren and sistern. Let us now sing or hum a bit of hallelujah for Oscar Wilde. Thank you, Oscar.
Thank you, humane and funny and smart-as-a-sharpity whip, Robert Rodi. You fill the world with joy and great ideas, and you are in all ways the definition of a good man. For my blog babies, here a short list of his wonderful work:
(What They Did To) Princess Paragon
Bitch Goddess (a minor masterpiece)
When You Were Me
Robert also had a long career as a writer for comic books, which is cooler than anything I’ve ever done. But I don’t know anything about comics, so I’ll have to ask him to drop in and explain that to us.
I have a gay-girl crush on Stephen MacCauley, who wrote what has remained one of my favorite, nearly sleight-of-hand beautiful lines: “Having recently turned 40, and more recently, 44 . . . .” Pick up his Alternatives To Sex, The Man in the House, The Object of My Affection, True Enough, The Easy Way Out.
I adore Lisa Alther, David Leavitt, Alice Walker, James Baldwin. Randall Kenan is so important I hesitate to categorize him in any way, except I’m pretty sure he’d never have sex with me; ergo, he’s gay. I love you, Randall.
Truman Capote. Truman Capote. Tennessee Williams. Christopher Isherwood. W.H. Auden (although this is NOT the poetry post!), Albert Albee – born on my birthday. Roland Barthes. Quentin Crisp. Michele Foucault. Stephen Fry. Frederica Garcia Lorca. Noel Coward. Paul Monette. Frank O’Hara. Maurice Sendak. Gore Vidal. Dorothy Allison. Elizabeth Bishop (still not the poetry post, but she will reappear, you betcha). Rita Mae Brown. Willa Cather. Angela Davis. Audre Lord. Mary Oliver. Sappho (sigh). Gertrude Stein. Alice B. Toklas. Jeannette Winterson (be still my latent homo heart). Beaudelaire, Walt Whitman. Jean Cocteau, Hart Crane, E.M. Forster, Andre Gide, Patricia Highsmith, D.H. Lawrence. W. Somerset Maugham. Evelyn Waugh. Tony Kushner. Armistead Maupin. Adrienne Rich. Susan Sontag.
* * *
Now to non-fiction. This is by no means an exhaustive list, because quite frankly, I’m exhausted. But I prefer your contributions anyway.
For The Time Being, Annie Dillard
Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
Miss American Pie, Margaret Sartor (I can’t recommend this memoir highly enough)
Goat, Brad Land
The Circus Fire, Stewart O’Nan
Auto de Fay, Fay Weldon
Dominion, Matthew Scully
Vows, Peter Manseau
Change Me Into Zeus’s Daughter, Barbara Robinette Moss
Boy With Loaded Gun, Lewis Nordan
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, by Nancy Milford (this may be the single best literary biography I’ve ever read)
Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag
Everything by James Hillman. I don’t know any other way to say it.
Last Train to Memphis, and Careless Love, by Peter Guralnick
The Undertaker, Thomas Lynch
Among the Thugs, Bill Buford
This is a scant list, obviously, and one I expect all of you to contribute to heavily. But I will add a few of the books that fall under the category Haven Is Waving Her Freak Umbrella Without Shame. I ADORE memoirs of drug and alcohol abuse. Oh, how they please me. Some of these are moving and literary, others are WOW, just WOW Motley Crue.
A Drinking Life: Pete Hamill (so good)
Drinking: A Love Story, by Carolyn Knapp
How To Stop Time: Heroin from A to Z, Ann Marlowe
The Dirt, Motley Crue
The Heroin Diaries, Nikki Sixx
The Basketball Diaries, Jim Carroll
To Hell and Partway Back, Marilyn Manson
Dry, Augusten Burroughs
More, Now, Again, Elizabeth Wurtzel
Candy, Luke Davies
I just looked at addiction memoirs on amazon and realized there are approximately 642 I haven’t read and I wish I had them RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. All my books look stupid. I’m going to eat some cake.
Read this book. Make recommendations. Poetry is next! In the meantime, you’re all just as precious as a dew on the whiskers of the Easter Bunny.